Stray but a little...

Author: Thundera Tiger

Nominator: Dwimordene

2011 Award Category: Ring War: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Duty, despair, and a golden Ring. A conversation and an argument on the banks of the Anduin, featuring Boromir and Legolas.

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Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 10

The author opens with a very interesting perspective on water that, to me, seemed not at all in keeping with fandom’s typical interpretation of Boromir’s character. I found it to be truly insightful, and actually made a great deal of sense. The symbolism of water is found constantly in Tolkien’s own writing, and I very much enjoyed the continuation of it that I found here. The conversation between Legolas and Boromir was also highly interesting. Thundera Tiger presented both the characters’ cases and perspectives with delicacy that did not at all hinder the conversation’s impact. Throughout the conversation, the feeling that much was being left unsaid—especially on the part of Legolas, whose thoughts the reader is not privy to—added a lot of weight to piece. In addition, the writing and style of the author was very nicely done. The author’s clear and descriptive prose and appropriate word choice were in keeping with Tolkien’s legacy, I thought, and made a wonderful scene so much the better. I found this scene to be plausible, based on what we knew of Boromir’s character, and very much liked this glimpse into his thoughts.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

I really enjoyed [Beyond the Mountain Passes] for its delving into the way the Ring would tempt Legolas as a leader of his people, and how Gimli's connection with the stories of his own people - all the lost cities, all the ruins and destructive, fruitless dreams of return to the glory days - helped him to resist the Ring's allure. [Stray But A Little...] continues working out the consequences of the Ring-Legolas interaction, although this time, Legolas is in Gimli's position, more or less. I say 'more or less' because at the end of the day, Gimli may be an important Dwarf, but he is not the king, nor is he one of Dáin's heirs. Legolas, however, will always be a prince, weighed down by the responsibility he has toward his people. And it is this, and the kind of will that comes with learning how to rule, that makes him Boromir's match and equal. These two, as Thundera shows, know each other's struggles, and Legolas is able to give Boromir a challenge the Steward's Heir would be wise to take seriously. It's an excellent confrontation: high tension, and you get to see a side of Legolas that usually is not exploited enough in fandom, imo, where politics and personality either come apart or tend to reduce the former to the latter. It's a lovely political sparring match, Thundera - thank you for writing it and making me appreciate both of these characters anew, but especially Legolas.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 10

Dear Thundera Tiger, this is an impressive piece that fits the task very well. The way you set the scene, evoking the smell of ruin, was very effective and highlighted by the fact that you returned to this at the end. I very much liked what you said about Boromir taking comfort in water and about moving water being the one thing that Sauron cannot spoil. It was lovely how you linked that to Finduilas, but even in itself it is a good idea. Another great detail was Boromir taking a close look at the new, very young recruits and his musings about sacrificing the future of Gondor in a futile attempt to defend its presence. This then seamlessly led to thoughts about the past and about Isildur. As for the central conflict of this story, it made me realise that I cannot remember ever reading a story that had interactions between Boromir and Legolas as it’s core idea. And yet, once you let Legolas point it out, the similarities in their situation are so striking. The conflict is very well handled, very believable, and you skilfully create this impression that Boromir is already past the point of no return. It is a very saddening and tragic conversation. The whole story is, as per your usual standard, very well constructed and crafted and I enjoyed it very much.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 10

An incredible piece of writing. To begin with water in the same place where we know Boromir is beginning to become unhinged is a brilliant stroke. I had not thought that Finduilas' sea longing might be hereditary. It is plausible and fits this tale well. That Boromir would find solace in water is profound. I loved the fact that he felt water could be cleansed. It should have occurred to him that HE could be cleansed the same as water. Taken from the foul clutches of Sauron and healed. Where's an all-knowing wizard when you need one??? I loved the similarities between PJ's Rohirrim and Boromir's Gondorians. The speech Legolas gives in the movie about those pressed into service being but children. It is even more apparent, as one reads the book, that this is the destiny of Gondor. That it has been ravaged so long by the dark forces of Sauron that it is only children left to fight. The men of Gondor have been slain in countless battles. Well done. As for Legolas... My goodness he is a definite irritant as far as Boromir is concerned. Yet again, we see between the lines of Tolkien that the Elves of Lothlorien did not hold much respect for Men. Thus, we have the beginnings, or the continuance, of division. This could so easily be used by the Ring. It would know it and use it against the Fellowship. What dolts. I shivered as the import of Legolas' words came through. He heard It. His sharing of Mirkwood's similarities to Gondor were great. But, of course, the Ring filtered the message and Boromir grew stiff and hard against any proffered help. When Legola challenges Boromir to leave, he fights it. Though he would, if truth be told, rather leave. What keeps him with the Fellowship with Gondor so near? *shivers* This scene is reminiscent of some duel by mortal enemies. And yet, who made them thus? The Ring. The very thing they feared. Both of them. A great study in the workings of the Ring, the thoughts of these two warriors, and the final gauntlet thrown down, but not picked up, make this a great read. I applaud the writer!

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 10

I always thought that of all the fellowship, Legolas would be the one who had to understood the best Boromir's plight and the temptation the Ring had to be for him, because Mirkwood faced much of the same sitation as Gondor, constantly besieged, and the temptation to take the One Ring and use it against the enemy (or so it would make the one so tempted believe) had to be as great for Legolas as it proved to be for Boromir. This is where Thundera's story steps in. The conversation that develops here between the two reflects much of the pain both Legolas and Boromir have to fear. Even more revealing is that blood-chilling confession Legolas makes to him: ["Yes! Valar, I nearly parted with this company in Lothlórien for fear the demands of my duty would destroy me!" Legolas shot back. "Indeed, I nearly parted and took somewhat with me into the north!"] Yes, Legolas had to hear the whispers, too, and in this story, he even admits that. It is a tragic thing that he nevertheless cannot reach Boromir, and that Boromir cannot step past his own despair to understand and really perceive the influence the ring already has on him, and detect the whispers for what they are. The two members of the Fellowship who should by their situation be most poised to understand each other remain strangers and enemies. here - maybe, and in Thundera's interpretation, exactly because Legolas understands so well where Boromir comes from. Thundera brings about this confrontation sudden, but with a chilling logic. The despair Boromir feels, the desperation and hopelessness coming from seeing that he is forced to send mere children as recruits to the slaughter without beig able to protect them, or seeing a real chance that they might win the war, are described grippingly and intense; and his belief that placing his hope in the Fellowship would be madness makes sense enough. Still, seing him giving over to his false hope and to the same despair that in the end consumes his father, not realizing that this despair is send to him by the very thing to which he klooks as desperate las hope for his people - this is as painful as it also makes horrible sense. A wonderful gapfiller, beautyfully written. Applause!

Reviewed by: StarSpray  ✧  Score: 9

I had not considered the similarities between Legolas' and Boromir's respective situations before reading this. Mirkwood is only passingly mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, the battles that take place there and in Erebor only a footnote after everything that happens in Gondor, Rohan, and of course Mordor. I enjoyed seeing a Legolas who does feel the pull of the Ring, and who recognizes it also in Boromir and attempts to intervene; there is so little interaction between these two characters both in canon and in fanfic. Another powerful element in this story is of course Boromir, from whose point of view it is written. I liked the memory of the too-young Rangers being sent to defend Ithilien, and the descriptions of Boromir's growing despair and how that works to draw him almost unconsciously toward the decision to take the Ring in spite of Legolas' best efforts. Thundera Tiger's writing is beautiful, and her depiction of the characters is flawless, showing sides of them that don't appear or are only hinted at in canon while still staying true to what Tolkien did reveal of them. A fantastic and thought-provoking read.

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 8

This was an insightful and sad piece, at least to me. Very well-written, as always with this author, but I found the characters the best part of this story. An interesting parallel there, between Boromir and Legolas- both leaders, both loving their homes so much, both with evil on their very doorstep. I found Boromir's thoughts about the boys who now defend Gondor a very poignant highlighting of how much Boromir's intentions were, at heart, good, and helped me to further understand his desperation. This piece shows him as, essentially, a noble man, who simply faltered under the strain of so much despair, which is, I feel, how Tolkien himself saw Boromir. Legolas' plight, on the other hand, is not often written about. What he left behind, Mirkwood's failing defenses, the inexorable approach of darkness into his home- but he continued, which is another lovely point of this moment between two characters- one who will fail, one who will endure, and both who are heroes. What a wonderful gem of character, conception and a study of good and evil!

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 8

This is an interesting and well-written gapfiller (apparently, it is also a sequel to a story about what happened between Legolas and Gimli in Lorien). Here, we learn more precisely what went on in Boromir's thoughts as he struggled with the temptation of the Ring, after the Company left Lorien. We are also reminded that others of the Fellowship might have had similar concerns and similar temptations. The theme is well developed through dialogue as we see Boromir misunderstanding Legolas's words and motives, until gradually both the similarity and the differences in their situations and concerns are revealed. Of course, the outcome for these two is very different indeed: Legolas has withstood the temptation and Boromir will eventually succumb. But as Thundera Tiger presents it here, this different outcome has as much to do with Legolas's ability to draw on the support of a friend when it is offered as with an inherent elvish immunity. Although he is doing his best, tragically it seems Legolas cannot manage do for Boromir what Gimli somehow managed to do for him.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

We don't get much Boromir/Legolas interaction in either LOTR or fanfiction. Thundera Tiger writes a very believable vignette starring these two warriors, highlighting the similarities between the backgrounds of these two princes of Sauron-beset realms and the tensions rising between and around them. The reader can feel the play of emotions in Boromir's mind as he struggles between duty and desperation. The ending is bleak, but this too is part of the tapestry of Tolkien's work. One feels that one knows Boromir and Legolas a little better now. Excellent story, Thundera!

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 5

When I first read this story I was so impressed with the powerful writing and with the power of character Thundera Tiger shows us in both Boromir and, even more, Legolas. This strong, insightful, and impassioned Legolas understands Boromir all too well - and this very understanding seems to be too hard for Boromir to accept. The characterisation of both of them seems, to me, to be both clear and sympathetic. It is sad, but inevitable, that Boromir, son of the Steward, cannot see quite as far as Legolas, son of the Elven King. This is an all too believable encounter, perfectly drawn by an expert word-smith - I would recommend it.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

It is rare to see fics showing interaction between Boromir and Legolas, yet we know that traveling together for so long there must have been many conversations. This one is not a pleasant conversation, as Legolas confronts Boromir over the Ring. I had never thought much about the idea of Legolas being tempted by the Ring, but Thundera makes the temptations sound very plausible: like Boromir, he too has a homeland under siege by the enemy. He too has heard the whispers that it could help his people. But even as he rejects it, he comes to realize what it must be whispering to the Man. A disturbing and chilling, but very possible gapfiller...

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf  ✧  Score: 3

Boromir's pride prevented him from recognizing that all the Free Folk faced the same problems and that all of them worked to solve them. Gondor was not alone, yet pride prevented him seeing this even when it was laid out for him. Well done.

Reviewed by: Alpha Ori  ✧  Score: 3

I enjoyed this tale. It was nice to read a story that illustrates the plight of others, and not only that of Boromir and Gondor. I also enjoyed Legolas coming to the fore just a little - showing a side of himself I thoroughly enjoyed, even if it is not so peaceful and spiritual.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

This was brilliant, well written and thought provoking story which I greatly enjoyed. I almost skipped it not being a Legolas fan, but am so glad I didn't!I had never seen before that Boromir and Legolas had much in common and you show plainly why Boromir was tempted by the Ring.